By DonorSearch

If you work for an organization that runs on donations, you should definitely be using online donation software. Don’t keep replying on basic payment forms and Excel spreadsheets, risking yourself of human error for a more time-consuming and tedious method. 

With the right fundraising software, your organization can increase donations and save time, all without you doing much work. Some of the best fundraising campaigns are done online and wouldn’t be as successful if online donation software wasn’t utilized. From organizing donor data to being able to customize anything, online donation software will make your life easier. 

So, what are the exact reasons you should be investing in online donation software? Here are some of the features you will be able to utilize: 

  1. Customizable Online Donation Forms
  2. Gift Matching Databases
  3. Prospect Research
  4. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Functionality
  5. Mobile Giving

Don’t let yourself get too outdated without online donation software—rack in those online contributions with these features and tools. Read on to get started or learn about other online donation tools here.

1. Customizable Online Donation Forms

A huge thing that online donation software can offer is the ability to customize all your forms. Having a customizable online donation form gives you the freedom to ask for the information that you find relevant and help you manage different pieces of donor data points. 

Look for online donation software that has the ability to:

  • Add fields for donor information. This way you can keep track of information like age, location, business affiliation, etc. You can also make some fields “Not Required” to speed up the process and let your donors have some privacy. 
  • Set suggested donation amounts. This can speed up the donation process and helps donors figure out how much to contribute if they are unsure.
  • Accept recurring donations. Having this option will increase revenue because you are encouraging a more consistent relationship with the donor, which can turn into more donations on a regular basis. 
  • Embed a donation form into your website to keep your branding. If you can physically place the donation form onto your website instead of redirecting donors to a third party host, that is great. It’ll help keep the donation process streamlined and keep your organization trustworthy.
  • Accept multiple forms of payment. Not everyone is going to want to donate the same way. Having multiple payment options, from credit cards to ACH donations, will bring your donation form to the next level.

Customizing your own form isn’t just convenient because it makes the donation process easier for the donor. It also helps you too, as your donation form is how you collect information from your donors. 

You can then use the data you gathered to help you strategize your next fundraising campaign. Whether it is with a gift matching database tool or for prospect donor research, leveraging this donor data can help you a lot. 

2. Gift matching databases

A lot of the time, you have the ability to double or even triple a donation but you don’t know it. This is because many people who are eligible for corporate matching gift programs are not aware of it until it’s too late. Corporate matching gift programs are when an employer matches their employee’s donation to an eligible cause. 

So, which businesses do this? That is where matching gift databases come in, as an index to all the different programs. 

You should look for online donation software that comes with these matching gift tools:

  • Can embed into your donation form. When you have a matching gift search tool in your donation form you allow donors to quickly check to see if they’re eligible for gift matching.
  • Frequently updating database. You need to make sure that the software you choose has a reliable database that is frequently updated so  the information is correct. 
  • Search functionality. Having a database that gives you suggestions while you’re typing will increase the percentage of users trying to find their company and gets rid of the risk for duplicate names.
  • Ease of use. You don’t want your search tool to be hard to navigate. Make sure you keep all the necessary information on the page and avoid cluttering it with distracting words. Have all the rules, instructions, and deadlines clearly displayed.

Having a matching gift tool with your suite of online donation software will boost your fundraising quickly. If you want to learn more and check out a reliable product, read Double the Donation’s tips on corporate matching gift programs.

3. Prospect Research

Prospect research is all about learning more about your donors. Gathering certain donor data can help you strategize your next campaign to be more successful than ever. Using donor analytics, you can research the data points that you have been collecting and segment them based on philanthropic indicators and wealth markers. These are the factors that can help you target potential major donors. 

Philanthropic indicators 

Philanthropic indicators refer to your traits that reflect the donor’s relationship and engagement with other charitable groups. You can look out for previous donations to your nonprofit, donations to other nonprofits, nonprofit involvement, and other basic personal information about hobbies and social media profiles. 

This can help you figure out which donors are more likely to give because they’re actively involved in philanthropy. Now you know which donors might be worth investing more time in. 

Wealth markers

Wealth markers can include real estate ownership, SEC transactions, business affiliations, and political giving. Major donors usually have very consistent and personal relationships with the nonprofits that they support, so keeping track of these factors can help you figure out which donors you should build a relationship with. 

Prospect research can be easy with different online donation software. Find software that can integrate with a CRM. This way you can leverage the CRM data for future successful campaigns and perform prospect research. 

4. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Functionality

If you’ve been involved in fundraising, you probably know a bit about peer-to-peer fundraising and the benefits of it. Peer-to-peer fundraising is an online fundraising method where your organization recruits a group of supporters to fundraise on your behalf. This is usually done by supporters setting up individual campaign pages and encouraging their family and friends to donate.

Some online donation software solutions have the capability to launch a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign for you. Make sure to look for software with these specific peer-to-peer features so you can start planning your campaign:

  • Compiled donation data in one database.
  • Post-campaign data analytics to see how well your fundraiser does in donor engagement, involvement, and acquisition/retention numbers.
  • Customizable donation pages branded to your organization to provide a consistent donation experience.
  • Updates through text, video, and photos to keep your supporters engaged and encourage more donations.
  • Sharing ability on multiple social media platforms.

Peer-to-peer capabilities with your online donation software will make your fundraising and campaigning so much easier. Donately has a great guide to peer-to-peer fundraising if you’re interested in learning more. 

5. Mobile Giving

The more we talk about online donations and the benefits of investing time and money in making yours better, we also have to mention the importance of mobile giving and mobile friendly content.

It’s important that you think about the type of donors you want to attract. If you’re trying to widen your audience, think about expanding your mobile giving services. 

Be sure to keep your site mobile friendly so that people don’t get irritated having to navigate your page from a smaller screen. Having a mobile version of your page is one of the most important donation page best practices that can increase donations and better the donor experience. 

Expanding your online donation presence to a more mobile friendly sphere is key to attracting all kinds of donors. And the ability to maximize your fundraising while letting your software do most of the work is a great reason to invest in online donation software. It can only help.

Now that you’ve read our guide, hopefully you see the importance of online donation software. With the vast amount of features they offer and the tools you can use to enhance them, you’ll be sure to give your fundraising a boost. So, good luck planning your next campaign! 

Author: Andrew Berry

Andrew is the head of marketing and customer success for Donately. After getting involved with nonprofits at a young age, he discovered a passion for helping the organizations that are making the world a better place. Knowing how vital online fundraising has become, his goal is to help nonprofits raise more money online each year! In his spare time, you will find him cooking up dinner, playing with his dog or cheering on Boston sports teams.

5 Reasons You Should Invest In Online Donation Software